The Gophers line-up for Sunday's afternoon tilt with the Fighting Sioux:
1st line/ #7 Kyle Rau -- #27 Nick Bjugstad -- #24 Zach Budish ... Top line has to be good, or at least slow down NoDak's top line ... Bjugey has not been his dominating self since his injury in Omaha last month. Rau got his 18th goal vs. BU
2nd line/ #11 Sam Warning -- #19 Erik Haula -- #27 Jake Hansen ... Hansen had two goals vs. Terriers. Haula has been Gophers' best player in playoffs
3rd line/ #16 Nate Condon -- #22 Travis Boyd -- #9 Taylor Matson ... Matson and Condon are teams two top penalty killers. They were busy Saturday because BU had seven power plays
4th line/ #14 Tom Serratore -- #13 Nico Sacchetti -- #17 Seth Ambroz ... Ambroz was hurt blocking a shot Saturday and was helped off the ice but came back later in that game and is OK for today. He is a big, strong kid.
#4 Seth Helgeson -- #12 Justin Holl ... Helgey scored his fifth goal on Saturday
#10 Ben Marshall -- #20 Mark Alt ... Alt will need to be physical against the Sioux
#6 Jake Parenteau -- #29 Nate Schmidt ... Schmitty had two assists vs. BU, now up to 37 after having one as a freshman
#35 Kent Patterson ... he will start his 63rd game in a row today dating back to Dec. 2010 ... John Lothrop started 80 in the 1960s, but Patterson is second now, having passed Robb Stauber who had 61 consecutive starts
THREE KEY FOR GOPHERS WIN
1. The power play has to be better than it was against BU. Yes, the Gophers got two power play goals, but they only had eight shots on eight power plays. That's not good. You don't necessarily have to score on power plays, but you need to get some momentum, put some pressure on the other goalie.
2. Find a hero. Nico Sacchetti (four goals), Seth Helgeson (five) and Jake Parenteau (two) all scored goals against BU. The Gophers are at their best when everyone is contributing. Getting goals from unlikely sources helps. My pick to get a goal today is Travis Boyd. Why? He is the most unlikeliest choice. Boyd has none, but he is centering the third line with two good wings. Why not today?
3. Stay out of the box. The Gophers have done a great job in most of their games against the Sioux in holding their shot totals -- and goals -- way down. UND is not nearly as strong offensively as last season when Sioux had Frattin, Gregoire and Genoway. So unless the Gophers give them a lot of power plays, they might be able to hold them to two, three goals. Enough to win.
Gophers have more talent on their roster, Sioux have more grit. So who wins? Today talent does, with media's help. Gophers are sick and tired about being asked about their collapse against UND in Final Five. A win over the Fighting Sioux would erase that bad memory.